Investigating knowledge and perceptions of citizens of the National Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Greece

Jones, Nikoleta; Iosifides, Theodoros; Evangelinos, Konstantinos I.; Florokapi, Ioanna and Dimitrakopoulos, Panayiotis G. (2012). Investigating knowledge and perceptions of citizens of the National Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Greece. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 19(1) pp. 25–33.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13504509.2011.584579

Abstract

The designation and management of protected areas (PAs) is a challenging task significantly influenced by numerous parameters, both economic and social. In this paper, these issues are explored by means of an empirical survey in a PA of international importance in Greece: the National Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (NPEMT). In particular, the survey explored the knowledge and perceptions of different interest groups concerning environmental issues in general, awareness of the restrictions imposed by the current management framework, benefits connected with the designation of the PA and willingness of individuals to pay for protection of the NPEMT. These interest groups were created depending on their level and type of involvement with PA issues. The results revealed a low level of awareness, indicating that further efforts should be conducted, both by the state and non-governmental organisations, to inform the local community and visitors about the existence of the PA and also the social and economic benefits resulting from its creation. Furthermore, the level of knowledge and perceptions of individuals about the NPEMT varies according to the social groups examined. Finally, individuals are willing to pay €94.08 annually for protection of the park, although there was a high percentage of protest responses.

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